“For two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9)
Monique could have been another statistic. But, instead, she came to us a young, single, pregnant, African American girl. Through our parenting mentorship program, Building Blocks, she heard about our free childbirth classes.
The statistics I am talking about are appalling. The underserved communities of Smith County have the fourth highest maternal death rate and the first highest fetal death rate in all of Texas. In all the U.S., African American women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than women of other races. These things break God’s heart. As a ministry that works to see value and life given to every woman and child, we must address this issue.
Because of this need, Better2gether Birth Services runs free 6-week long childbirth classes. The knowledge they gain empowers women in these communities to advocate for themselves in childbirth. In addition, once they have completed the course, we provide a doula to stand alongside them during their birth.
Doula is from the ancient Greek word meaning “a woman who serves.” A doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support during labor. Studies show that in communities with high maternal and fetal death rates, having a doula in childbirth can reduce those rates by 80%.
Monique went into her birth, hoping for an unmedicated delivery. She attended our classes and labored with her mom and her doula, Kristi, towards that goal. Monique said she would feel Kristi’s hands on her back, hear her comforting words encouraging her, and she knew she could do it. However, birth is unpredictable. After hours of labor, Monique’s baby went into distress. Kristi was right by her side as her baby’s heart rate flatlined several times. Monique says, “I wasn’t scared. All I remember about that time is Kristi holding my hand, telling me to breathe, and feeling at peace.”
She was rolled back to the OR for a C-section while Kristi and Monique’s mom, Tanja, waited. Tanja was in the room begging God not to take her daughter from her. Monique was on the table in the OR begging God not to take her son. Kristi went over and prayed with Tanja.
A couple of minutes later, a perfectly healthy baby boy, Donovan, was placed in his grandmother’s arms. She welcomed him with tears of joy. A little later, Monique arrived in her hospital room as an answer to her mother’s prayers. God was at work that day, and Kristi was able to be His servant in a time of great distress. She brought support and comfort to Monique and her mom when they needed it most.
We are called to love and serve each other following Christ’s perfect example. God has blessed us with more women to serve, but we need doulas! If you are a trained doula, would you consider helping these precious women and babies? If you desire to serve in this way, we will have training September 20-24 and you can register by clicking the button below.
Better2gether Program Director